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Hoops Report – South Carolina

(Photo by John Kelley)

(Photo by John Kelley)

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Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report.

It’s like going to the dentist because that’s what watching the Dawgs Tuesday in Knoxville felt like. It was literally painful. I’ve seen us play some bad games in my day, but that ranks right up there. When we decide to stink up a place, we take it to extremes. The good thing is it still only counts as one loss and we’re done with Tennessee. By the way, how are they a bubble team with that much talent? I’ll take their roster over Kentucky’s any day of the week. While they don’t have a true point guard, they’ve got everything else. I don’t know if it’s coaching or attitude, but they’re loaded as far as pure talent goes.

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Anyway, I digress. Back to our Dawgs and another piece of possible good news. We’re playing on the road Saturday against South Carolina. We all know playing on the road in the SEC is always difficult. But when you’re playing a team at the bottom of the standings, at least you’ve got a little better chance of winning. I’ll explain later while it still won’t be easy though. First however, let’s look back at Tuesday’sbad dream.

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I wish someone would have let us know there was a game to be played last Tuesday night. We came out uninspired and lacked all emotion. While Kenny Gaines started out hot, no one else in the starting lineup did a thing. JJ Frazier came off the bench to score 12 of the bench’s 13 points. That’s right. JJ Frazier scored 12. The other eight guys that came off the bench split a point. And by the way, where was the hustle? Rebounding is hustling and we hadn’t been outrebounded in a conference game this year. Unfortunately, we have now as we either got beat to every loose ball or had it taken away without a fight. I’m getting nauseous typing about this, let move on the the Lamecocks as there’s really nothing worth rehashing.

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Let me now explain why Saturday is not an easy victory against a team tied for last in the conference. First, that drill sergeant they have running things over  there is a good coach that can motivate people through fear. Second, like Auburn, they’re awful on the road. They probably won’t win a SEC game away from Columbia this year. However, they’re 3-3 at home in conference play. Also, you can add that we’ve had a history of poor play there. Lastly, they have three guys that can flat out score. Those three scored 58 of their 76 in the game three weeks ago in Athens. That’s ten points more than our entire team scored on the road last game out. So we can’t even think about getting cocky, pardon the pun. This game is very much up in air. However, it means a lot more to us when you look at the standings than it does to them so hopefully we will show up.

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Ok, the Dawgs are still alone in third place in the SEC. If we win Saturday, we’re still alone in third in the SEC. If we lose we’re in a possible five way time with a huge home game against Mizzou on Tuesdayand they’ll be looking for revenge. While I think we’re probably the sixth best team in reality, I think Coach Fox is probably as good of an Xs and Os coach as there is in the league. He generally seems to find a way to keep us in the game. I think he can get us that first round bye in the SEC tourney. Our recipe is pretty simple as a unit. When we play with fire, take the ball to the basket, get to the line, and outrebound our opponent, then we win. As a history lesson, you know we had one of our best games this year shooting the 3 point shot in Knoxville. You remember how that worked out for us? Just know the 40/30 rule. If we get 40 boards and shoot 30 FTs, we’re going to win most games. To be honest, that’s our best chance to win. Now let me go treat this nausea with some chicken soup. Go Dawgs!